While body maintenance refers to the preparation and maintaining of the body for performance at an optimum level, it does not say that you must be an athlete or just someone who tries to get in a regular routine of low-impact exercise to reap the advantages.
To have one's body be able to perform at an optimum level, regardless of age or "activity" level, would be something I think we could all appreciate. Personally, after sitting at a desk all day, staring at a computer screen, my neck and back are suffering – again. I have had to spend hours at physical therapy, chiropractors, and acupuncturists appointments. If I can commit to merely focusing on body maintenance, maybe I'll have a chance to feel less pain and have more free time outside of medical engagements.
Body maintenance checklist
Regularly scheduled body maintenance will allow you to perform at a higher level. As a result, you will be able to move healthier and feel better while doing it and with less pain afterward. Below is a list of essential body maintenance tools:
- Dynamic flexibility
- Adequate fueling
- Strength workouts
- Compression gear
- Good, healthy diet
- Enough sleep
First things first. Take responsibility for your health, drink a lot of water every hour on the hour and continue a healthy body maintenance program.
Why do you need maintenance in your body?
Every day, the body requires a certain amount of energy to perform its basic functions, such as cell growth, muscle movement, and energy conversion. This energy the body needs to do all of this is known as maintenance calories or total daily energy expenditure. Therefore, aches and pains are not just annoying, they take up a lot of energy that can keep you from being active how you need or want to be, and that can feel very limiting.
An example of a suggested routine to start, for say, neck issues (after seeing a medical professional), is demonstrated below. Working through the recommended training a few times a week, or if you are brave (or in enough pain!), work them daily, and you will see positive benefits.
Supine (lying on back)
• Sidebending with Rotations
• Sidebending with Rotation and Lift
• Upper Cervical Flexion
• Upper Cervical Flexion with Sidebending
• Chin to Chest with Rotation
• Chin to Chest with Side
• Rotated with Sidebending
• Sidebent with Rotation
• Levator Scap Stretch
• Upper Trap Stretch
Quadruped (all fours)
• Retracted with Rotation
• Retraction with Rotation and Sidebending
• Low Trap Raise
For a scientific look at what body maintenance actually works on to develop, see the description below.
Strength - capacity to exert a muscle contraction against resistance (i.e., getting out of bed in the morning).
Flexibility - a human body is made up of an anatomical structure, joint mobility, ligaments, and muscles. Some of these characteristics are unchangeable, but muscles can be developed and lengthened through daily stretching.
Stamina - is made up of two components; cardiovascular endurance and muscle endurance. Our ability to sustain muscle contractions and the efficiency of the heart and lungs correspond to the time that we are able to maintain a high-quality performance of these functions.
Endurance - endurance of either the muscles or the heart and breathing and the ability to withstand these muscle contractions and physical exertion without the fear of fatigue.
Cardiovascular system – this system includes the heart and blood vessels where the blood is transported to various parts of the body. An efficient cardiovascular system can delay the onset of fatigue and improve recovery rates from injuries or tears.
Respiratory system - the trachea, bronchi, bronchioles and alveoli. Primary muscles of respiration are intercostals, serratus, and diaphragm. Breathing occurs as the result of the changes in pressure inside the ribcage, and so better breathing equals better blood flow to the muscles as well.
Coordination - coordination is needed to move fluidly from one movement to the next and not fall while doing it. A routine to keep coordination at a substantial level is particularly important to those of us as we age.
Nutrition – this is essential to maintain overall health and for our bodies to perform to the best of their ability is to have a nutritious diet.
Muscle pairs - need a high level of efficiency. Meaning, while one muscle is contracting, its opposite muscle (or its pair) must extend smoothly. Thus, muscles work in reciprocal pairs.
What is maintenance massage?
A regularly scheduled massage appointment is considered a maintenance massage. For example, when you routinely get an oil change, the vehicle performs better, gets better gas mileage, and prevents a really big catastrophe, like the engine overheating or blowing up.
Maintenance massage works the same way. Your body will reap the critical health benefits of massage. The body will notably perform better because of the scheduled body maintenance, with the additional benefit of preventing something big from happening, like a painful muscle injury.
Benefits of massage maintenance:
The most significant health benefit of having a maintenance massage is what the massage does for your muscles.
- Full body massage benefit – hope to experience a great deal of relaxation in the body as those tight, cramped muscles will be soothed.
- Improvement in range of motion as an immediate result in regular stretching of connective tissues in the body.
- Decrease in muscle fatigue
- Improvement in physical strength
- Improved lymphatic drainage carries waste away from the muscles and other organs, calming the nervous system and speeding up the healing time from an injury.
Mental Benefits of Frequent Massages
- Improved sense of well-being
- Improved concentration
- Improvement in sleep
- Less irritatable, stressed, and anxious throughout the day
As a direct result of body maintenance and regular massages, whether by a masseuse or at home with a massage chair, the benefits to a person's life are endless.
*Always consult a physician first before starting any recovery program.